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Major Jewish U.S. Groups Assail British Airline for Canceling Flight Via Israel

The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations said today it was “deeply distressed” by the action of the British Overseas Airways Corporation in having “bowed to Arab boycott pressure” in canceling two of its weekly Far East flights via Lydda Airport in Israel. A BOAC spokesman said in London that the cancelation followed a ban by Pakistan on flights over its territory by aircraft en route to and from Israel.

The Presidents Conference said the action by BOAC “repudiates the Chicago Convention of which Pakistan is a signatory.” The convention declares that “the skies are free passage for civil airlines.” The statement also asserted that the BOAC action was “a challenge to every country” which pledged cooperation to the United Nations in making the 1967 International Tourist Year a great world effort “to stimulate international understanding through the medium of tourism.”

“BOAC’s compliant acceptance” of the Pakistani ban, the statement declared, “represents a disturbing surrender to Arab boycott pressures. It inhibits tourism and disrupts Israel’s communications with the Far East. The Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations has no choice but to bring these facts to the attention of the constituencies of its affiliated organizations across the country. We hope that BOAC will be moved to renew its flights through Israel to the Far East in keeping with the spirit of International Tourist Year.”